MARCH MINUTES: Running the Air Force Half Marathon

The 15th annual Air Force Marathon and 10K events are under way as the first of 13,000 runners cross the starting line to begin their individual events. This year's event included runners from all 50 states and 15 countries. 45 runners had previously run the other 14 annual marathon events. The marathon was held on and around Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Joe Davidson)

The 15th annual Air Force Marathon and 10K events are under way as the first of 13,000 runners cross the starting line to begin their individual events. This year's event included runners from all 50 states and 15 countries. 45 runners had previously run the other 14 annual marathon events. The marathon was held on and around Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Joe Davidson)

Air Force reservist Staff Sgt. Steve Sobieraj poses for a photo after completing the Air Force Half Marathon Sept. 17, 2011 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.  Sobieraj is a member of the 452nd Security Forces Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. (Courtesy photo)

Air Force reservist Staff Sgt. Steve Sobieraj poses for a photo after completing the Air Force Half Marathon Sept. 17, 2011 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Sobieraj is a member of the 452nd Security Forces Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Staff Sgt. Steve Sobieraj is an Air Force reservist and member of the 452nd Security Forces Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. He flew to Wright-Patterson AFB on Sept. 16 with 92 other runners from March to participate in the Air Force Marathon weekend races.  Here, he describes running the 13.1-mile Air Force Half Marathon.

0522: Woke up late and the bus leaves at 0530.

0523: Panicked, then looked at the schedule and realized the bus doesn't leave 'til 0630. Definitely not a good start to my day!

0602: Ate a banana and half a bagel. Took a five-hour energy shot and watched the end of Rocky IV, perfect motivation.

0646: On the bus heading to the marathon. I have not heard a bus this quiet since going to Basic Training at Lackland.

0729: Finally arrive on site. The weather is a bit cold, but I'm looking forward to finally starting the race. (It's my first half-marathon).

0830: At the starting point. The gun fires and startles everyone. At least I don't have to use the bathroom anymore.

0845: The first mile is rough. Everyone is bottlenecked and I spend the first mile weaving past people.

0900: Mile four. My strategy so far is to pick a person ahead of me and try to pass them. I am running well ahead of my desired pace and feeling great.

0935: Mile eight. I see a hill up ahead, my weakness. I put my head down, grit my teeth and roar like a beast. Got to get through it.

0950: Mile ten. My hamstring starts hurting. It takes my speed but not my heart. Have to finish strong. I take my shirt off and wish I would have incorporated sit ups in my running training.

1005: Mile twelve. All the people whom I passed before are starting to pass me. Time to dig deep.

1013: I see the finish line, hear the claps and a sense of national pride runs through me. It's like the end of the movie "Cool Runnings."

1020: After the marathon, my body hurts, but it's nothing a little pizza and Gatorade can't help. Now it's time to redeem my beer coupon with the March team.

1506: Back in the room, grateful for everyone back home in my unit who helped me train. I feel like I represented the fighting 452nd and March very well. I am thankful Colonel McGregor gave us the opportunity to succeed under the bright lights of Wright-Patterson.

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